Circumstances

I write a lot of my posts a few days or a week in advance. This suits me, but along with using Buffer to schedule tweets it gives the impression that I’m here a lot, when in fact the lights are on a timer and I only check the mail when I feel like it. Last week, when I published three posts on here and one over on Viva Survivors, I started the week in South Wales and finished it feeling exhausted due to illness. It was only when I had a look just now that I realised I had actually published some thoughts last week – and got some comments! – for the most part when I got home I was too busy focussing on feeling sorry for myself.

Skipping The Gory Details

Now, I wasn’t really very, very ill. I don’t know what caused the illness, could have been something I ate, more likely to be a virus that seems to be going around. I had to cancel a workshop with less than 24 hours notice – which I hated doing, and hope I get to Edge Hill soon! I felt hot, cold, hungry, unable to eat, weird, tired and all sorts of other things. But towards the end of the week something worse happened.

I couldn’t drink tea.

It wasn’t supposed to be part of my recovery in a positive or negative sense, I just couldn’t seem to drink a cup of tea. It didn’t taste right at all. When I made it, when my wife made it – it just didn’t work. It was just unpleasant. I would get through half a mug and then abandon it. It wasn’t bitter, or too strong or not strong enough. It was no longer enjoyable at all.

A most unpleasant thought rocked me: “What if some dumb little virus has robbed me of tea?”

A Happy Ending

Thankfully, my taste buds rallied over the weekend! After a few days my taste for tea and lust for life have both returned, and as I sit down today (26th May) to write I started thinking about this. Not being able to drink a cup of tea because the taste no longer agrees is a kind of ridiculous thing to worry about – of course. Perhaps the frustration being worked out there was a change that felt like it was being imposed by circumstances beyond my control. There are always circumstances beyond our control – trains being late, boss saying we have to work overtime, the behaviour of people we work with – but we often only focus on the circumstances in a negative way.

There are lots of circumstances beyond our control that can really benefit us – reputation, a sunny day, positive relationships – sure they’re not totally beyond our control, but we can probably only influence things a little (in the sense of Influence and Control that I think Stephen Covey wrote about). I think if there’s anything that I’m thinking as a result of this meandering it’s this: rather than focus on the “bad” things that are beyond my control, I’m going to first of all be thankful for all of the good things beyond my control, and secondly think about how to make the most of the things that I can control or influence.

If I couldn’t drink tea any more, who knows, maybe I’d try coffee-no, no that’s never going to happen! 😉

Thanks for reading!

Nathan (@DrRyder and @VivaSurvivors)